Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs
Manuscript Group 377, Joseph Bloomfield (1753-1823), Revolutionary War soldier and Governor of New Jersey
Papers, 1774-1809, 0.3 linear feet / 1 box
Call Number: MG 377
A collection including a journal, correspondence, and signed documents of Joseph Bloomfield, a Revolutionary War officer and Governor of New Jersey. "Journal; kept whilst in the Continental-Service: Began the 8th of February, 1776, and ended the 23d day of July following by Joseph Bloomfield Captain in the 3d New Jersey Regiment." Includes "A Report of Captain Bloomfield's Company in Camp on the German Flats June 20th, 1776." Among Bloomfield's correspondents are Silas Dickerson, Ebenezer Elmer, Andrew Hunter, Jonathan Rhea, Thomas Ritchie, and Ebenezer Tucker.
Joseph Bloomfield was born in Woodbridge, New Jersey in 1753. He studied law until the beginning of the American Revolution when he became a captain in the Third New Jersey Regiment of Foot. By the end of the American Revolution, Bloomfield attained the rank of major and in 1794, he led the United States Army against the Whiskey Insurrection near Pittsburgh. In 1812, he was named Brigadier-General in the United States Army and was stationed along the border of Canada.
After the American Revolution, Bloomfield was admitted to the bar and later became attorney general of the state of New Jersey. In 1783, he was appointed register of the Court of Admiralty and, in 1793, he was chosen as a trustee of Princeton College and held that office until his death. Bloomfield was also Governor of New Jersey from 1801-1812, a representative in congress from 1817 until 1821, and an active member of the New Jersey Society for the Abolition of Slavery.
He married Mary McIlvaine (1752-1818), the daughter of Dr. William McIlvaine, and after her death, he married Isabella Ramsey (1779-1871), the daughter of John Ramsey. He died in Burlington, New Jersey on October 3, 1823.
Major E.M. Woodward and John F. Hagemen. History of Burlington and Mercer Counties, New Jersey with Biographical sketches of many of their Pioneers and Prominent Men (Philadelphia, Pa.: Everts and Peak, 1883).
The source of this collection is unknown. Manuscript Group 164, Joseph Bloomfield (1753-1823) Journal was added to this collection at the time of processing.
This collection mainly consists of the journal and correspondence of Joseph Bloomfield dating from 1774-1809. The journal dates from February 6, 1776 until July 23, 1776, when Bloomfield was a captain in the Third New Jersey Regiment of Foot. It largely discusses the daily life of a soldier and describes marches, news, and camp routine. Bloomfield also notes unusual occurrences such as that on May 7, 1776, "This day we met a noted Tory of this country who for want of tar and feathers, we daubed with clay mud and leaves and then dunked him, making him acknowledge the supremacy of the Congress." Another unusual event took place on May 19, 1776, "The night we could frequently hear the Indian Warriors yell the War hoop (sic)...." And still another on May 25, 1776, "This morning we were informed Independancy (sic) is declared by the Congress which greatly pleased our Regiment." On June 7, 1776, Bloomfield lists the officers in the regiment. In his entry for July 12, 1776, he describes a duel that took place between an officer of the regiment and a volunteer.
The correspondence mainly consists of letters written to and from Bloomfield regarding politics and his legal cases. The correspondence is arranged by recipient and then by date. The letters are from Ebenezer Elmer (fl. 1776-1802), a veteran of the Third New Jersey Regiment of Foot; Ebenezer Tucker (fl. 1774); Andrew Hunter (fl. 1792); and Jonathan Rhea (fl. 1787). Joseph Bloomfield’s license to practice law is also included in this collection.
For more information on Joseph Bloomfield and the Third New Jersey Regiment of Foot see:
Processed by James Lewis, May 2001 as part of the "Farm to City" project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The New Jersey Historical Society